The Rangers used their 33rd-round pick Wednesday to draft University of Georgia outfielder Johnathan Taylor, who was paralyzed after an outfield collision in March and is considered unlikely to walk again.
Taylor fractured two vertebrae in his spine in a collision with teammate Zach Cone three months ago. Cone was the Rangers’ second-round pick, and it looks like the team decided it’d be a nice gesture to select Taylor afterwards.
The paralysis has affected all of Taylor’s extremities, so he is considered a tetraplegic. He has some use of his arms, but no feeling in his legs or fingers. Still, he is able to use his hands again and even play video games. Since his spinal cord wasn’t severed, the hope is that his condition will continue improve with time.
Taylor hit .335 with a team-best .442 OBP for the Bulldogs in 2010. He was playing in Georgia’s 11th game of this season when he was injured.
Athletics right-hander Jharel Cotton will undergo Tommy John surgery, per an announcement on Saturday. Cotton initially experienced some elbow soreness during a Cactus League start earlier this week and was officially diagnosed with a strained ulnar collateral ligament and strained flexor muscle on Thursday. He’ll be out of commission until 2019 at the earliest.
This isn’t the first time Cotton has dealt with elbow issues. According to MLB.com’s Jane Lee, he had screws inserted in his right elbow after sustaining a stress fracture in 2013 and suffered some minor elbow discomfort again last fall. Prior to his diagnosis, the 26-year-old was poised for his third run with the A’s in 2018. He pitched his first full season with the club in 2017, turning in a 5.58 ERA, 3.7 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in 24 starts and 129 innings.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle adds that the team is open to adding pitching depth this spring, though they’ll wait to see if the price goes down on some free agents first. Barring that, right-handed long reliever Andrew Triggs could be tabbed to fill the fifth spot in the rotation.